Proper identification is required to cash checks, open credit card accounts, and in many cases to use a debit or credit card to make retail purchases. Proper identification is also required to travel by plane, vote, buy alcohol, rent an apartment, or buy property. If your identification is lost or stolen or you do not currently have proper photo identification, it is wise to obtain a temporary photo identification card as quickly as possible. Every state can issue this card, typically valid for 30 days, at the Department of Motor Vehicles or Driver Services Office.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Application for identification card
- Original birth certificate
- Proof of residency
Gather the necessary support documents which typically include proof of identity, citizenship, and residency. Examples of proof of identity and citizenship include an original or certified copy of your birth certificate issued in the United States, your Social Security card or a valid passport. Most states require proof of residency as well. Proof of residency can include a current rental housing agreement, utility bill, current bank statement or school transcript from the current year or preceding year.
Visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office to obtain an application, or visit the website for the State DMV to print an application for a temporary photo identification card. Review the list of documents included in the application. You will need to fill these out to receive the card.
Submit your paperwork and pay the required fee. Fees vary from state to state and can range from £5.80 in New York, as of 2010, to £13.00 in Georgia to £16.20 in Massachusetts for a photo identification card valid for 5 years. A temporary photo identification card will be issued at this time. The temporary card will often read "Temporary" across the front.
Wait for your new photo identification card to be mailed to the mailing address you provided on the application, usually within 10 business days. Most temporary photo identification cards are valid for 30 days.
Tips and warnings
- Because proof of identification and residency are required, states require you to visit a full service DMV to obtain your temporary photo identification.
- A state-issued temporary photo identification card is a valid form of identification and can be used like a standard state-issued identification card.
- Most state motor vehicle offices will not take personal checks. Have cash or a major credit card on hand to pay your fee.
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- Georgia Department of Driver Services Applying for a Georgia ID Card
- New York Department of Motor Vehicles: Photo Licenses and ID Cards
- Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles: Temporary License/ID Card Information For EDL Applicants
- Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Registry of Motor Vehciles: Obtaining a Massachusetts ID